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Bruno, G. (2005). Essere neonati: Questioni psicoanalitiche [Being a newborn baby: Psychoanalytic issues] Dina Vallino and Marco Macciò Rome: Borla. 2004. 261 pp.. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 86(5):1515-1518.

(2005). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 86(5):1515-1518

Essere neonati: Questioni psicoanalitiche [Being a newborn baby: Psychoanalytic issues] Dina Vallino and Marco Macciò Rome: Borla. 2004. 261 pp.

Review by:
Giuliana Bruno

Approaching the world of the newborn baby in an attempt to understand it is an extremely fascinating undertaking which can at times be very mysterious. Yet there seems to be an innate desire in human nature to try to go back to the very origins of physical and psychic life. Thus, those who venture into this world can find themselves facing questions of indisputable scientific value which can also lead on to epistemological and philosophical questions—as happens in this book. Where and how does thinking begin? At what point do human babies learn to distinguish subject from object, and therefore realize that they exist separately from the ‘other’? How can we find evidence to support one theory or another, and what tools are available to us from the various disciplines working in the field? How can we express and give meaning to what we observe and hear in this non-verbal world in which we must exert ourselves using different parts of the mind from those which we use in our day-to-day existence in the adult world?

The complexity of such subjects might explain why the two authors of this book came together: Dina Vallino, a training analyst in the Italian Psychoanalytic Society, came to psychoanalysis from a background in philosophy, and her husband Marco Macciò, a philosopher, specializes in anthropology and the contemporary study of gnosis. He is an expert in the history of psychoanalysis who has also studied child development in the field.

Vallino has already given Italian readers the chance to gain insight into her original and creative way of dealing with children's problems as a psychoanalyst. Vallino (1998), reviewed by Basile (2003), won the Gradiva Prize in 1999, and shows her at work in the consulting room with her young patients. The book reviewed here

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1 Translated by Harriet Cooper.

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